M-A boys honored by USTA NorCal tennis circuit


The Menlo-Atherton boys' tennis team was well-represented at the USTA Northern California Junior Recognition Awards ceremony that took place last weekend at the Fremont Tennis Center.

M-A senior Alec Haley won the USTA NorCal Grand Prix Award and the San Mateo County Leaderboard Award for Boys 18 singles. M-A sophomore twins Jesse and Christian Perkins won the NorCal USTA Grand Prix Award and Leaderboard Award for Boys 16 doubles. Freshman teammate Richie Sarwal won the Leaderboard Award for Boys 14 doubles.

The Grand Prix Circuit Winner Award is a series of tournaments from June through August, 2009, and the Leaderboard award is for the top ranking at the end of the year.

In some other tennis news:

Future Stanford women's tennis teammates Kristie Ahn of Upper Saddle River, N.J., and Nicole Gibbs of Manhattan Beach, partnered last weekend to win the doubles title at the USTA Pro Circuit $50,000 event in Raleigh, N.C.

Gibbs and Ahn upset the No. 3 seeded team of Alexandra Mueller and Ahsha Rolle, 6-3, 6-2, in the final.

Ahn, 17, burst on to the international scene in 2008 when she won a USTA Pro Circuit $10,000 event in Landisville, Pa., in her first professional event. She won a second Pro Circuit event in Houston a month later, and then became the youngest player to win three matches and qualify for the main draw of the U.S. Open -- losing to eventual semifinalist Dinara Safina in the first round.

In 2009, Ahn won her third pro title at the $25,000 event in Hammond, La., and reached the girls' doubles final at the 2009 U.S. Open. She's been ranked as high as No. 304 on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour.

Despite winning the titles, Ahn had to turn down any prize money to retain her amateur status for college. The same goes for Gibbs, 17, who won an ITF Pro Circuit $10,000 event in Mexico City in 2007 for her only pro singles title. As a junior, Gibbs has reached back-to-back finals at the Canadian Open and reached the quarterfinals of the 2009 USTA Girls' 18s National Championships.


Menlo-Atherton Little League Baseball Majors coach Brian Rodrigues recently was named one of 10 Bay Area "Double-Goal" Coach Award winners by the Positive Coaching Alliance. The award is presented annually to coaches who best exemplify the dual coaching goals of success on the field and teaching life lessons through sports.

An Atherton resident, Rodrigues has two children in Menlo Park schools, and has been active in coaching for many years. He has coached baseball in Menlo-Atherton Little League since his son, now 11, played T-Ball, and has coached every level of Little League play since that time. He currently coaches a Little League Majors team sponsored by Left Bank, and serves on the board of Menlo-Atherton Little League, where he has been the driving force behind the Hit-A-Thon fundraiser. Last summer, he was selected to coach one of the league's All Star teams.

"Menlo Atherton Little League is honored that Brian Rodrigues has been recognized as one of the top coaches by Positive Coaching Alliance" said Arron Retterer, president of Menlo-Atherton Little League. "Brian has tremendous baseball knowledge and is a fantastic coach. His ability to balance skill development while teaching our youth the importance of sportsmanship and honoring the game, sets the pace not only for our community but for the entire Bay Area. Brian is leading the cause to transform youth sports, so sports can transform youth."

"I feel extremely fortunate to be able to coach. To me it really is an honor, a privilege and a responsibility — something that I love and have a passion for," said Rodrigues.

Positive Coaching Alliance was founded in 1998 as a non-profit organization within the Stanford University Athletic Department with the goal of "transforming youth sports so sports can transform youth." PCA's partnership network includes more than 1,100 youth sports organizations, cities and schools.

More information about PCA is available on its web site at


Kelsey Pedersen, a 2009 Gunn High graduate, is a freshman on the Cal women's crew team that won the Pac-10 Championship on Sunday at Lake Natoma near Sacramento. Pederson rowed in the Novice 8+ boat that finished third in its race. Cal led after the first split over Washington, but the Huskies eventually took the lead and never looked back in the race.

Women's water polo

Palo Alto High grad Phoebe Champion, a senior at Princeton, was named the Most Valuable Player of the Collegiate Water Polo Association All-Southern Division team this season. Princeton junior and Paly grad Tanya Wilcox made the second team, as did Bucknell sophomore Hallie Kennan, also from Palo Alto.

-- Palo Alto Online Sports

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